KING CITY — Kacey Hass, a seventh-grade life science teacher at Chalone Peaks Middle School, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to start a school garden.

Hass is also the gardening teacher for both seventh and eighth grades, but the campus currently does not have a garden.

Titled, “Help Raise Funds for a School Garden,” the fundraiser has already raised $1,755 of the $2,000 goal at press time Monday, a feat accomplished within four days of the project’s start late last week. The expenditures listed were for the construction of multiple garden beds, soil, fencing, a shed and basic gardening tools.

“In the past three weeks of teaching, I have seen an immense need for a school garden,” Hass said in a Facebook post. “My students love caring for plants. They are also in dire need of a sanctuary to escape their tough home lives.”

The garden would allow for hands-on science learning and would be attached to specific goals, such as raising flowers for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, or growing pumpkins to harvest.

Hass noted having goals in mind would enable students to use the outdoor learning space to watch their efforts come to fruition.

“Many of my students live in households in which their parents/guardians are field workers, which has instilled a love of plants among the students,” she said on her project page.

While Hass has received approval to build the beds, she was given little funding for the project, hence the need to call for community support.

Hass has already had her students sprout pumpkin seedlings and start a compost bin inside her classroom, where they named the worms they put into the compost.

“Despite their connection to agriculture, many students lack the science knowledge behind gardening,” she said. “I have adopted an incredible curriculum and they have already learned so much.”

In addition to flowers, Hass said her students would like to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables, especially ones needed for a salsa competition at the end of the school year.

“I aim to use experiential, hands-on learning to show students that their potential is not limited by their personal hardships,” Hass said. “I hope the school garden will not only create a sanctuary for my kiddos, but instill a sense of confidence and empower them as they work together to troubleshoot problems.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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